Signs are given in part to warn us of dangerous waters ahead. Those who ignore obvious signs are placing themselves in shark infested waters.
38 Even so it shall be in that day when they shall see all these things, then shall they know that the hour is nigh.
39 And it shall come to pass that he that feareth me shall be looking forth for the great day of the Lord to come, even for the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.
44 …and he that watches not for me shall be cut off. (D&C, 45:39-44)
Signs are given to us by the Lord to help us prepare for his second coming. Prophecies in the scriptures and teachings of the living prophets help us recognize these signs. Since we are living in the last days before the Second Coming, we need to recognize these signs and their importance; if we do recognize them and heed their message, we will be able to abide the Second Coming and avoid the judgements of God when he cleanses the earth of its wickedness .’Not only do I hope that we are familiar with these coming events; I hope also that we keep the vision of them continually before our minds. This I do because upon a knowledge of them, and an assurance of their reality and a witness that each of us may have part therein, rests the efficacy of Christ’s admonition, “be not troubled.’
(Elder Marion G. Romney, General Conference, October 1966)
What Is the Second Coming?
The Second Coming in glory is in fact “the end of the world,” meaning the end of worldliness, the destruction of the wicked. Elder Neal A Maxwell said: “The youth and all members of the Church need to accept the reality of Christ’s return in majesty and power before that event occurs; for, as C. S . Lewis put it, it will do men little good to kneel down when it is no longer possible to stand up, for when the ‘Author of the play comes on stage, the play is over!’ ”
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE SECOND COMING?
Elder Dallin Oaks: Four matters are indisputable to Latter-day Saints:
- The Savior will return to the earth in power and great glory to reign personally during a millennium of righteousness and peace.
- At the time of His coming there will be a destruction of the wicked and a resurrection of the righteous.
- No one knows the time of His coming, but
- the faithful are taught to study the signs of it and to be prepared for it.
(General Conference April 2004)
Do we know when the Second Coming will be?
The scriptures speak of the Master returning as “a thief in the night” (Thessalonians 5:21, 2 Peter 3:10). It is true that no mortal man has known, does now know, or will yet know the precise day of the Lord’s second advent.
The Lord did not reveal to Joseph Smith the precise day and time of his coming (D&C 130:14-17).
Elder M. Russell Ballard said: “I am called as one of the Apostles to be a special witness of Christ in these exciting, trying times, and I do not know when He is going to come again. As far as I know, none of my brethren in the Council of the Twelve or even in the First Presidency knows. And I would humbly suggest to you, my young brothers and sisters, that if we do not know, then nobody knows, no matter how compelling their arguments or how reasonable their calculations. . . . I believe when the Lord says ‘no man’ knows, it really means that no man knows. You should be extremely wary of anyone who claims to be an exception to divine decree.”
What Are the Best Sources for Understanding the Events Incident to the Saviour’s Coming?
President Harold B Lee in a General Priesthood Meeting in 1972 said: ‘There are among us many loose writings predicting the calamities which are about to overtake us. Some of these have been publicized as though they were necessary to wake up the world to the horrors about to overtake us. Many of these are from sources upon which there cannot be unquestioned reliance. Let me give you the sure word of prophecy on which you should rely for your guide instead of these strange sources which may have great political implications.
Read the 24th chapter of Matthew—particularly that inspired version as contained in the Pearl of Great Price. (JS—M 1.)
Then read the 45th section of the Doctrine and Covenants where the Lord, not man, has documented the signs of the times.
Now turn to section 101 and section 133 of the Doctrine and Covenants and hear the step-by-step recounting of events leading up to the coming of the Savior.
Finally, turn to the promises the Lord makes to those who keep the commandments when these judgments descend upon the wicked, as set forth in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 38.
Brethren, these are some of the writings with which you should concern yourselves, rather than commentaries that may come from those whose information may not be the most reliable and whose motives may be subject to question.’
One of the signs of the times is that many people will be deceived about the second coming of the Lord. Even some Latter-day Saints are and will be deceived. Yet this deception need not be the case. If we follow the living prophet and feast upon the words of Christ as found in the holy scriptures, we can avoid being deceived (see 2 Nephi 31:20).
Elder Dallin H Oaks said in General Conference in 2004: ‘These signs of the Second Coming are all around us and seem to be increasing in frequency and intensity. For example, the list of major earthquakes in The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2004 shows twice as many earthquakes in the decades of the 1980s and 1990s as in the two preceding decades. It also shows further sharp increases in the first several years of this century. The list of notable floods and tidal waves and the list of hurricanes, typhoons, and blizzards worldwide show similar increases in recent years. Increases by comparison with 50 years ago can be dismissed as changes in reporting criteria, but the accelerating pattern of natural disasters in the last few decades is ominous.’
Pres Joseph F Smith in 1906 wrote: ‘Calamities are only permitted by a merciful Father, in order to bring about redemption. Behind the fearful storms of judgment, which often strike the just and the unjust alike, overwhelming the wicked and the righteous, there arises bright and clear the dawn of the day of salvation… We believe that his judgments are poured out to bring mankind to a sense of his power and his purposes, that they may repent of their sins, and prepare themselves for the second coming of Christ to reign in righteousness upon the earth.’
SHOULD WE BE FRIGHTENED?
A common misconception about the signs of the times is that all of them are frightening calamities. Actually, many signs are some of the most positive and uplifting events ever to take place on the earth. Some of the truly glorious signs of the times include:
– the Spirit being poured out on all flesh
– the coming forth of the Book of Mormon
-the gathering of Israel
-the building of latter-day temples
-the return of Judah to Jerusalem.
One prophetic statement about the signs of the times is found in Joel 2:28–32. This passage captures the spirit of the signs of the times and how they prepare us for “the great and the terrible day of the Lord” (v. 31), or the Lord’s second coming. Only in Zion will there be safety when the great and the terrible day of the Lord comes. If we are faithful and call upon the Lord, we will be delivered in the last days. (See v. 32.)
28 ¶And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and infJerusalem shall begdeliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.
Elder Dallin H Oaks: As the Savior taught in His prophecy of the Second Coming, blessed is the “faithful and wise servant” who is attending to his duty when the Lord comes (see Matthew 24:45–46). As the prophet Nephi taught of that day, “The righteous need not fear” (1 Nephi 22:17; see also 1 Nephi 14:14; D&C 133:44). And modern revelation promises that “the Lord shall have power over his saints” (D&C 1:36).
We are surrounded by challenges on all sides (see 2 Corinthians 4:8–9). But with faith in God, we trust the blessings He has promised those who keep His commandments. We have faith in the future, and we are preparing for that future. To borrow a metaphor from the familiar world of athletic competitions, we do not know when this game will end, and we do not know the final score, but we do know that when the game finally ends, our team wins. We will continue to go forward “till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done” (History of the Church, 4:540).
“Wherefore,” the Savior tells us, “be faithful, praying always, having your lamps trimmed and burning, and oil with you, that you may be ready at the coming of the Bridegroom—For behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that I come quickly” (D&C 33:17–18).
1 Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if
ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you. 32 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors. 33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses,
therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.
34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world. (Alma 34:31-34)